Cover Story: Prosecutors Say Two Houston Men Sold Analog Drugs That Killed Teenagers Over 1,000 Miles Away.

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

When kids in North Dakota and Minnesota started overdosing and dropping dead from synthetic drugs in a span of a week last year, authorities there knew they had a problem on their hands. It didn't take long for them to trace the drugs -- called 25-I or NBOME -- to a dealer in Grand Forks, North Dakota, who bought them online from a company in Houston.

The company, Motion Research, purported to sell "research chemicals" imported from various countries, and marketed as "not for human consumption."

This caught the eye of investigators of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and when one of the founders of Motion Research decided to snitch his two coworkers out, a tough federal prosecutor in North Dakota had one hell of a case: he painted two Houston men as the ringleaders of a conspiracy that, all told, has embroiled 13 defendants. It is one of the first far-reaching prosecutions of analog drugs sold online.

The two Houston men, Charles Carlton and John Polinski, could receive life sentences, while their partner, Harry "Scootdog" Mickelis, escaped charges, thanks to his cooperation in a case that shouldn't have needed his help in the first place.

The drugs Carlton and Polinksi allegedly sold are still of course available from a multitude of online vendors; and amateur chemists are constantly tweaking the molecular structures of their drugs in order to stay one step ahead of state and federal laws that can't quite seem to keep up.

Take a look inside the investigation, and the world of analog drugs, in this week's cover story, "Breaking Bad."

Follow Houston Press on Facebook and on Twitter @HairBallsNews or @HoustonPress.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.